HUMS 127, Tragedy in the European Literary Tradition

Meeting Time: 
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

Course Description:

From its ancient Greek origins through the Renaissance to modernism, tragic drama uses verbal artistry, stagecraft, and emotional confrontation to explore questions of justice, free will, and the social contract (from gender roles to the nature of the state). Plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides; Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Racine; Büchner; Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov; Wedekind, Synge, Lorca, Brecht; Tarell Alvin McCraney, Lynn Nottage; theoretical texts by Aristotle and Brecht. Focus on verbal artistry and textual analysis; on dramaturgy, staging and the nature of spectatorial experience (from Aristotle’s “cathartic” emotional purgation to political consciousness-raising), as on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing. One strand of the class will explore what happens when women become tragic subjects; another, attempts to develop a tragedy of the collective. 

Led by:

Professor Katie Trumpener works across the modern period (late 18th C. to the present), with particular interests in the history of the British and European novel; anglophone fiction (especially Scotland, Ireland, Canada); European film history; literature’s relationship to social and cultural history, visual culture and music; nationalism, regionalism and traditionalism’;  literature/culture of WWI, WWII and the Cold War; history of children’s literature 18th C-present; women novelists. She is currently researching the institutionalization of Marxist aesthetics in postwar Central Europe.